Web design tips beginners can use immediately

web design tips

A guest post by James Gorski. 

New to website design? Would like some web design tips?

Sure, this can come across as daunting, especially when you consider how much competition there is online these days.

Yet you cannot deny the potential impact of a website that’s attractive, easy to use, and encourages conversions and brand engagement.

Fortunately, here’s some web design tips you can do right now as a beginner to design or redesign an effective website.

Use WordPress as your CMS

The platform you use to update your website is called a content management system, or CMS.

There are plenty of content management systems to choose from, but WordPress is widely considered to be one of the most flexible and easy to use.

Within it you’ll have literally thousands of applications, called plugins, to choose from to improve your website’s performance. So it’s relatively easy to add the desired level of functionality to your website as you design it.

Pick your preferred WP theme

If you’re using WordPress, you will need to pick a WordPress theme.These are templates for your website’s design. There are both free and paid themes for you to choose from.

Once you’ve chosen your theme, it’s easy to customise its design from your admin panel. You’ll have a live preview of your changes as you make them. Customisation includes changing the colour and font, and adding header images.

Web design tips to keep things simple

You’ll probably have a vision of all the wonderful things you want to include on your website.

But be aware that too many bells and whistles can quickly overwhelm or confuse your visitors. So why not start with some simple web design tips which include:

  • Short paragraphs
  • Clear, descriptive headers/subheads
  • Limited use of images and video
  • Easy-to-find calls-to-action

Make wise use of white space

There’s no need to fill up every single space on your webpages with something.

One of my simple web design tips is to simply leave some white space within your design. White space also makes it easier for visitors to focus on the actual content and guides their eyes down the webpages.

Use convenient navigation features

You need to make it easy for your visitors to get where they want to go. This is also made worse with some sites having hamburger menus.

Without the navigation menu being clearly visible on the screen, visitors get confused and leave without taking action. You can get noticeable improvements with engagement once you switch to a tab-based menu. Further simplify navigation with these web design tips:

  • Internal links that take visitors to related webpages
  • Standard wording (eg About Us, Contact, Homepage)
  • Placed at the top of your webpages which fits in with common eye movement patterns
  • Appropriate icons and colours for your navigation bar

Present consistent and relevant content

Providing consistent and relevant content that’s in keeping with your brand’s image and messaging will go towards creating effective web design.

If you would like to determine which content will work well on your website, try A/B testing different versions of content for each page. Then use the results to offer exactly what your ideal audience prefers.

Web design tips to pick an effective colour scheme

Your website’s colour scheme should reflect the tone of your brand. As well as your personal preference, a colour wheel can help you find colours that work well together. Also some colours have certain emotions associated with them:

  • Yellow: optimistic, cheerful, youthful
  • Blue: trust and security (often used by banks, law firms, and medical practices)
  • Red: energy, urgency (often used on retail websites)
  • Green: relaxation, the environment
  • Orange: aggressive, suggests the need to take action
  • Black: sleek, powerful (often used by companies offering luxury products)
  • Purple: calmness, a soothing effect (frequently used on sites offering beauty products or services)

Whatever colours you use should focus on ensuring your website is readable, especially on small screens on mobile devices.  It’s also worth considering whether some of your website visitors may be colourblind.

Be mindful of fonts and graphics

The style and size of your fonts can affect readability and even the tone your content. For example, it’s not a good idea to use Comic Sans, as this would make your website less believable.

Another of my web design tips is to use graphics that reflect well on your brand. Avoid anything that’s too generic or low in quality, as this also is a distraction for website visitors.

Don’t limit yourself to stock images

It can be tempting save time by filling your website with stock images you think sort of fit your brand.

Whereas you’re more likely to make a better impression with images that is more unique to your brand. And if you create them yourself, be mindful of clarity, resolution and image size.

Opt for a responsive website design

Google now adopts a ‘mobile first’ policy, which evaluates how websites appear on smartphones and tablets. However, even though this means mobile device use ranks higher than desktops, you still need to cater for desktop visitors.

One of the commonly recommended web design tips is to use a responsive website design, which adjusts your website to whatever screen size it is being viewed on. You will definitely benefit from a mobile-friendly website that includes:

  • Bigger buttons that are easier to spot and tap
  • No pop-ups (most mobile browsers don’t support these)
  • Reduced text input, along with drop-down menus, checklists and image-based selections
  • Minimal amounts of unnecessary formatting
  • Scaling images to dimensions appropriate for smaller screens
  • Pages flowing through sections for better readability

Confirm browser compatibility

One of the most important web design tips is to make sure your website is properly viewable on certain browsers.

For example, your site should be accessible from popular browsers like Firefox and Google Chrome. Also, test your site for compatibility with mobile browsers.

Don’t forget SEO

Search engine optimisation (SEO) should never be an afterthought in a website’s design.

There are certain fundamentals of SEO that need to be put in place to make it crawl-able for search engines and appealing to visitors. Some of the major aspects of SEO include:

  • Unique meta titles and descriptions for each page
  • Creation of a sitemap
  • Placing alt tags behind Images (images are invisible to search engines without alt tags)
  • H1 header tags and other relevant H tags
  • A secure website with https

No specific website design tips will guarantee results. However, many types of website interaction can be tracked, from traffic patterns to what devices people are using. This makes it easier to know how to adjust your design based on the results, which ultimately leads to a successfully designed website.

About the author

James GorskiIn addition to being the editor at designrfix and writing about tech, web and graphic design among other subjects, James Gorski loves “unplug” and being outdoors hiking and enjoying nature. If you can’t reach him, it’s probably because where he is doesn’t have cell phone reception.

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Alice Elliott writes the award winning Fairy Blog Mother blog for beginner and post-beginner bloggers to “explain things really simply” about blogging and WordPress. She provides simple, easy to understand, highly visual courses and tutorials using ordinary, everyday words. Visit her new Beginner Bloggers blog to find her latest learning resources.

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